Little pieces of heaven ala Provence. We enjoyed these very special rolls while on vacation many years ago and ever since, I’ve been trying to duplicate them. This recipe comes the closest.

Black olive focaccia rolls

Yield: 10-12 rolls


  • 1 small potato, peeled
  • 1½ cups bread flour
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 pkg. fast rising yeast
  • 1 cup warm potato water
  • 3 tablespoons fine extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
  • ½-¾ cup high quality black olives, pits removed

Black olive focaccia rolls


  1. Cover the peeled potato with cold water in medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer until potato is tender.
  3. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
  4. Mash potato.
  5. Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over ½ cup warm (not hot!) potato water with dissolved 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl, mix together.
  6. Let stand until the yeast begins to act, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the yeast mixture.
  8. In a food processor add together the flours, potato and salt.
  9. With the machine running slowly pour through feed tube the yeast/water mixture.
  10. Be careful not to over add the water. Use only enough water so the dough comes into a ball and away from sides of bowl.
  11. Knead for 1 minute in food processor.
  12. Turn out on a floured surface, and knead just until smooth.
  13. Pour ½ teaspoon of the oil into a clean bowl.
  14. Place the dough in the bowl, turning once to oil the top.
  15. Cover.
  16. Let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
  17. While the dough is rising, remove the pits from the olives. Cut some into small pieces, and a few nice halves remain whole so they can be used as decoration on top.
  18. When the dough has risen, punch it down and fold the chopped olive pieces into the dough.
  19. I usually spread the dough out, by stretching it, lay some of the olives randomly over and then fold the dough half over itself, and repeat this until all the olive pieces are mixed into the dough.
  20. Use 1 teaspoon of the oil to coat a baking sheet
  21. Gently pull enough dough to form a nice roll and place the roll on the oiled baking sheet.
  22. Put 1 or 2 olive halves on top as decorations.
  23. Gently press the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
  24. Place in a cold oven on the center shelf.
  25. Place a flat pan of hot water on the shelf below the bread.
  26. Let rise until doubled, 20 to 25 minutes.
  27. Remove from the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.
  28. Place the rolls on the center shelf.
  29. Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned on top.
  30. Remove from the pan, and cool on a wire rack.
  31. Serve warm.


I am usually very flexible about most ingredients, but here there are 2 things that are really important: You really must use a very good grade of olive oil (yes, the expensive stuff) and also very fine black olives that have been in oil as well.

adapted from